So you’re sitting down, paying attention not to glue your legs too close to each other or cross them over each other in your favorite royal pose. Just keep them “ajar” enough to air your balls (do refer to the description of the balls in the earlier post). This, my friend(s) is what we call: “a3det rjeil”, the sitting of the men.
Tonight is the night your endurance with you daddy’s TV programs will be put to the test to see how much attention you’ve been paying attention. Tonight, the Sitting of the Men will talk about the politics they saw, the religions they condemn, the economy they loathe and the women they aspire to touch. All those topics wouldn’t have found their way into the “sitting” had it not been on the Mecca of TV stations amongst those men: Al Arabiyya, Al Jazeera, the Lebanese channels. Between each outburst of either unanimous agreement or individual discrepancies, you find yourself nodding at this and shaking your head on that. But of course you wouldn’t exhibit such opinions if you weren’t directly or indirectly asked to pronounce your thoughts on the matter, be it wih a sudden stare from the “family friend” or a verbal permission from your father to speak that comes out as, “don’t you think so, my son?” signaling the time for you to support his opinion, regardless whether you agree with it or not. If you happen to presume that you know better and would like to add in your wit to the argument at hand, and it just so happens that it is not in conjunction with the ruling mentality, then your father would sadly admit that you’re ignorant, while his “family friends” would console him ever so gently that you’re just too young to understand. And “god burn America for ruining his brains”.
If the men decide to play cards or backgammon, then you’re to follow them, even if you don’t have a player’s seat or you don’t necessarily smoke. Do remember that second-hand smoking effects do not exist in this blessed gatherings, so don’t busy your health-conscious self with these insignificant details. And anyway, the clouds of smoke will switch you off in 3 minutes flat. So you’re in safe hands. You’re bored and you lost interest with the games? Then eavesdrop at what the women on the other side of the Salon are gossiping about, but do not even dare to join in the discussion. Just sit, smile courteously, cheer when your father wins and grin if he loses (or rush to clean his ashtray and get him a cleaner one). Sit and wait for the mixed nuts to come, followed with the a combination of either Pepsi, Miranda, Seven up and mixed fruit cocktail drinks. And wait patiently for the cakes that were bought from the closest patisserie. This, my friend(s) will be the height of your entertainment. After the sugar rush is gone, the yawning syndrome governs the room, your mom gives a “habibi, let’s go because I think our little daughter is on the internet and not asleep as we think she is” look. Your dad excuses himself by getting up, after which you’d have to mirror him and shake hands with the guests one after the other, in the same order as he did.
You sit amongst the men who define their sex by the number of children they helped procreate and the throng of women they fantasize to share their seeds and fluids with. You think to yourself, “but I like men, why am I listening to this”?
My friend(s), I don’t think such conversations should bother us because we don’t relate to them. Personally, they bother me because they don’t add any intellectual value to my being. But that’s about it.
In such gatherings, I think to myself: why am I going through this? One possible answer is because I need to show that I am supporting my father. I am whom he will entrust his name to be passed onto his heir. I am who will bring this heir to this life (there is a funny pun in here which I’d like to highlight: the pronunciation of “heir” and “ayr” is identical somehow). I have to be part of these gatherings so that his friends won’t look at him in sympathetic camaraderie, as if wanting to say, “your train is gone and you’re all alone now. Your name will never be procreated”. My presence fuels his hope. My presence silences their doubts. My presence kills me. And yet, I am to sit smiling, grateful that I have such lovely parents (and they are lovely, loving and adorning) who bestow on me a good living. I am to sit there answering questions that neither change my life nor the course of life outside those walls. I am to sit there accepting the sugar-filled, toxin-intoxicated drinks and swallow them in gratitude of the unparalleled hospitality I am receiving. I glance at my mother every now and then. She glances back at me with eyes of pride, but clouded with stares of concern. Stares that want to say, “I know what you’re going through”, but instead translate to, “your father loves you and I’m proud of you for getting along with him, finally”.
I look away, so that I may continue arguing about politics which affect nothing but my travel plans, religions which, should I decide to follow them, save me from nothing but further criticism of my choices, and people whom I will never cross paths with. All for the sake of proving that my parents have raised me well. That I have “chosen” to abide to their beliefs because I have the common sense to see they are the common sense amongst the rubble of Man.
(Also on http://gayinabudhabi.blogspot.com/. Photo by GiB#2 of a shop in Badaro)